Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Capercaillie, Capercailzie (Tetrao urogallus), the Cock of the Woods, or Wood Grouse, the largest of the European game birds, and highly esteemed for the table. It is found in fir woods in the mountainous districts of Europe and the north of Asia, and was formerly native to Ireland and Scotland, but in both these countries it was exterminated towards the close of the eighteenth century, and no specimen of either of these races is to be found in any museum. These birds have, however, been reintroduced into Scotland, and they are now fairly plentiful in the Highlands. The male is about the size of a turkey, and has the tail rounded, the feathers of the head elongated, and a scarlet patch of naked skin above the eye. The general plumage is chestnut-brown irregularly marked with black, breast black with metallic green lustre, under surface black. The hen is smaller, and is sandy-brown, barred and variegated with black. The males are polygamous, and in spring show off before the hen birds. The nest is a mere hole, and usually contains from ten to twelve eggs, which are pale yellowish, tinged with red and mottled with brown. These birds feed on the leaves and shoots of the Scotch fir; the young prefer worms and insects. They run into many varieties, and breed freely with allied species.